Partnerships

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Merck

Merck launched its digital health arm, the Merck Medical Information and Innovation (M2i2) initiative, in 2012. Through M2i2, the company brings together providers, EMR vendors, academics and startups to explore “big data” and digital health opportunities for improving therapies and patient-centered outcomes, with particular focus on:

  • innovative uses of data to find new opportunities for treating disease
  • capturing the patient voice to better define populations and outcomes
  • technologies to help clinicians improve care quality

About our partnership

In 2014, M2i2 established a research partnership with John Brownstein, PhD, co-founder of HealthMap and a member of Boston Children's Hospital's Informatics Program, to study whether social media can provide useful information about insomnia. Some 58 percent of Americans are thought to experience insomnia at least a few nights per week, while 30 percent of Americans have some form of chronic sleep disorder. However, little is known about the true burden of insomnia, as diagnosis largely relies on self-reporting.

Together, M2i2 and Brownstein are combining Twitter data (including tweet content and frequency) and Facebook data—such as "likes," user analytics (e.g., log in/out times, time spent on site) and demographics—to create a social media-based definition of insomnia.

"The social media content people produce could teach us a great deal about factors driving sleep disorders, and help uncover new populations of insomnia patients that haven't yet been described." —John Brownstein, PhD

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